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Tuesday, January 28, 2020


by Tricia Knoll

US updates travel warning to China to highest level as mayor of Wuhan admits authorities were too slow in releasing information about virus. Photo: medical teams in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, treat a patient as Beijing records its first death. (Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock) —The Guardian, January 28, 2020

Fifty years ago I wrote science fiction,
one manuscript about a pandemic killing
nearly everyone except the elusive
sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest
and tribes of women wearing cedar
robes who lived in far-flung outposts.

I heard those 1918 stories. The missing
grandfather of an old man, the circus
performer. Ancestral trees where leaves
fell on apathetic soil. Decimations.
Like the scourges of genocide
that took the people who first
lived on this continent. Then
scientists dug up the old dead
to study the virus.

These viruses creep, cavalier
and potent through airports,
luxury liners, transports.
I wonder if anti-vaxxers
believe in masks? Or prefer

I no longer believe the sasquatch
have survived the fires. I no longer
have faith in women in robes
in remote camps who study the past.
Nowhere is remote any more.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet. Vermont is remote and is the second most-unpopulated state in the US. She carries a flame for social justice.